Identity of man who died in Vernon rock-climbing incident released

A rock climber fell from a steep cliff above the Grey Canal train on Turtle Mountain in Vernon on Saturday, May 14, 2016.
Image Credit: Google Street View

VERNON - The identity of a man who died in a rock climbing incident in Vernon has been released.

He was Martin Hieltje Wolbers, 32, of Vernon. According to a release from the B.C. Coroners Service, Wolbers died after a free-climbing incident at Turtle Mountain Saturday, May 14.

Shortly after 4 p.m. on May 14, passersby walking their dog along the Turtle Mountain hiking trail just west of Vernon discovered Wolbers lying unresponsive on the trail below a section of steep basalt cliff face. He could not be resuscitated.

“Mr. Wolbers was known to frequently free-climb on the rock faces near where he was found and preliminary investigation indicates he fell while doing so,” states the coroner’s service.

Free solo climbers are known to not use ropes or rock climbing equipment like pegs to secure themselves to the rock face.

His family has been notified, and both the coroner and the RCMP will continue to investigate the death.

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